Parents and kids often differ regarding their ideas of what constitutes proper oral hygiene. While you want your kid's smile to last a lifetime, their whole goal seems to be to finish brushing as quickly as possible. Fortunately, you can turn your kid's perspective around with these fun ways to establish better dental habits.
Turn Tooth Brushing Into an Event
Lots of parents use timers to make sure that their kids brush their teeth for two full minutes, but this strategy sometimes seems too boring for kids. Instead, use your kid's favorite song to turn tooth brushing time into a dance party that gets them excited. Make sure to dance along as they brush to make this strategy really rock.
Get Into Character
Dedication to good oral hygiene is a character trait that everyone wants to instill in their child, and you can use your child's favorite cartoon character to do that. Most storybook characters for kids have videos and books that pertain to oral hygiene. Find one that your child loves, and use it to reinforce tooth brushing lessons.
Make Your Child a Superhero
You can tap into your kid's sense of adventure by crafting a superhero story with them as the main character. Have your child pretend that their mouth is full of sugar creatures that can only be destroyed with the power of their toothbrush. Give your kid a cape to wear, and watch as they get excited about triumphing over cavities.
Seeing the results of a science experiment gives your child a visual lesson about the importance of oral hygiene. Pretreat an egg by soaking it in fluoride before putting it in vinegar along with another egg that is untreated. Watch as the untreated egg's shell dissolves, and discuss what happened and how it relates to your child's teeth.
Create a Reward System
Help your child make positive associations with oral hygiene by rewarding them for practicing good behavior. Set up a chart, and allow your kid to pick a prize once they reach their goal. For example, they could get to visit their favorite park on the weekend after brushing their teeth all week.
Brush Your Teeth as a Family
Show your kid that tooth-brushing time is not just some arbitrary rule by letting them see you and the rest of your family engaged in good oral hygiene. Set up a time after dinner and bring out the tooth-brushing supplies. You can even take turns brushing each other's teeth to increase the fun factor for little ones. Try Toothbrush Painting
For some kids, just the sight of a toothbrush is enough to send them into a panic. Change their mindset by using a toothbrush and some sparkly toothpaste to paint a cutout paper tooth. Once your kid is done, hang it up and talk about how they can use the same technique on their real teeth later that night.
Teach Flossing With Playdough
Oral hygiene lessons can happen at any time of the day when you turn an old egg carton into a row of teeth for your child to practice flossing. Just paint it white and stick playdough in between each of the cups that represent teeth. Then, give your child some floss and let them remove the playdough until the pretend smile is clean.
Get the Most Out of Checkups
Before your child's next checkup, have them practice brushing their stuffed animal's teeth and bring it along to the visit. They can hold their favorite animal in their lap for comfort during their exam. Afterward, their dentist can assess their brushing technique and offer tips to help them get their teeth extra clean.
It takes some creativity, but you can successfully end those tooth-brushing battles by making it more fun. At Tomsik Family Dentistry, we believe that establishing good oral health habits early is the best way to enjoy a smile for a lifetime. Contact us today for more fun ways to make your kid's oral hygiene routine effective.